I could hit you up with multiple definitions of what it means to be the target of someone who has a prejudice against you for any number of reasons.
When my mother was a teenager she was in a girl’s school in Macon, Georgia because of the area of the city her family lived in. As it happened the majority of the girls in that school were from families that were higher up the economic chain so young Myrtle being the oldest child in the preacher’s family was already at a disadvantage because of her lack of snazzy wardrobe. (Use of the word snazzy because it was the late ‘30’s and it was the word she used). On top of that her dad was the Overseer of a group of church, which were Pentecostal. If you go to a Pentecostal church now you wouldn’t know the difference between how they dress and look than any other group in society but in that day and time women couldn’t cut their hair, had to wear long sleeves, skirts below the knee and stockings. Again an explanation is due; when you think of stockings you might think of sheer black nylons (my own personal favorite), however the stockings they had to wear were thick and obvious at a time when all the other girls were wearing “bobby socks” which were only up to the ankle. Mother did ride the bus with another preachers daughter who rolled her stockings down every morning and tucked them into the socks that she convinced her parents to let her wear over her stockings because she had cold feet. Mother’s conscious wouldn’t let her do that. She was a bathroom stall one day and overheard a conversation where she was referred to as the “girl who always wore the thick stockings”. She was mortified and wouldn’t go out of the stall until all those girls had left the bathroom.
OK so that’s one type of prejudice, socioeconomic and religious all rolled into one bundle.
Then there is the racial prejudice that everyone says has gone away.
It’s a prejudice I faced up close and personal for two years when I was in elementary school. Living in a small town where everyone looked different from the little Armenian girl who had brown skin and black hair which made me a target. One particular girl was the ringleader of this bullying and the worst memory I have of her is looking up from laying on my back in the gravel play yard and seeing her face laughing at me with her little group of friends standing around me in a circle.
Why did I relate those two stories?
The first because all the reasons my mother was persecuted no longer exist. She suffered shame and ridicule because of rules that men made which no longer exist! Not because of her belief in Jesus as the Christ or because she believed that people can still be healed of their diseases or speak in another tongue but because of the way she had to dress! Now all the Pentecostal ladies (that I know) look like any one else on the street, lipstick, short hair, short skirts, jewelry, oh and sleeveless dresses too…
Second, with social media being as it is we can have friends from all over the world and from our past lives and as it happens this tormentor of mine, the one that I would think of through my whole adult life with, I admit it, the hatred for a person that comes with being human and feels the effects of abuse. It’s only been in the past year that I found a place of forgiveness knowing that if I didn’t truly forgive that person their sin God would not forgive mine and then it happened… a friend request, and a little speech about how much my family “was loved”. Surprised a little?
I had to laugh to myself as I looked at the picture of a very mature (aged) person and thought about how much energy I had wasted on the utter dislike and disgust I had felt for so many years and suddenly with this person obviously having no memory of what they did to me or how it had affected me…
it’s all over.